Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail Hands-On with Samurai

6 Jun 2024
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Last month we had a chance to play a preview build of Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail as part of the North American Media Tour. During our hands-on time, we were able to experience many of the Job changes that are in the works. For the Jobs that we weren’t able to personally get hands-on with, we still had an opportunity to look into the changes that will be coming when Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail arrives on July 2 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, Mac, Windows, and Steam.

You can see all of the Samurai changes, along with our thoughts below. Additionally, you can view the upcoming changes on our wiki by clicking on the Dawntrail tab on the Samurai Job page.

You can also find more coverage of the Dawntrail Media Tour here.

This article is based on play of an in-development build of Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail, and content in the final version is subject to change.


Welcome, Samurai. Things are pretty good for you here at the end of Endwalker and Dawntrail is just adding more on. First though, and this will be the last time I will say this: Kaiten is still gone. I know, I know, lets just all move past the pain and on to what Dawntrail will bring.

Let’s begin with Meikyo Shisui. Which now grants you the Tsubame-gaeshi Ready buff alongside its normal effects and second charge at level 76. That’s a little early for a second charge compared to how it works now.  This doesn’t automate or merge anything, you’ll still have to use the Tsubame-gaeshi weaponskill to execute your Kaeshi versions of Iaijutsu. This is coupled with the removal of charges from Tsubame, so it looks like you’ll still get to do two every 60 seconds, but now they are gated behind the use of Meikyo Shisui. This may seem weird, and it definitely was to me as a Samurai newb, but it makes more sense when we get to the other new buff Meikyo Shisui will get later in Dawntrail.

Shoha (II) is dead, long live Shoha! That’s right no more Shoha II- sweet, sweet button consolidation. Now Shoha is one, line based AoE oGCD with great damage usable in either single or multi-target situations. That leaves room for a new ability at 82 which is filled by Tengetsu, the upgrade to Third Eye we all thought we saw in the Job Action trailer. Tengetsu has the normal effects of Third Eye, but also adds a new eight second buff, Tengetsu’s Foresight once those main effects end. Once those eight seconds are over, you’ll receive a heal equal to the current potency of Second Wind- more on that later. Now we get into the additions you’ll get while leveling in Dawntrail.

First up is Gyofu a new and upgraded version of Hakaze at level 92. Nothing major here, just a refresh of the animation and more potency- new visuals are always nice. At level 96 you get the first splashy new ability, Zanshin. This oGCD is only available after being granted the 30 second long Zanshin Ready buff from using Ikishoten. Once you’ve done so, you can weave in this new oGCD that hits just as hard as Ogi Namikiri. Do note though, Zanshin costs 50 Kenki to use which is exactly what Ikishoten gives to you. Looking at the current state of Samurai, that probably means you’ll be replacing two Shintens with this during your burst… Maybe- I’m not a Samurai main, I’ve just seen a few anime. What I do know though, is that every Melee DPS will get upgrades to both Second Wind and Feint defensive cooldowns at level 94 and 98 respectively. Second Wind gains a bit of healing potency and Feint will now last for 15 seconds up from 10. Don’t forget that new Tengetsu, ability too- Samurai will have some of the best self-mitigation of the Melees again in Dawntrail. I hope we need it.

Now, lets talk about the capstone ability (or four!?) that you get at level 100. The actual addition at that level is a trait called Enhanced Meikyo Shisui II, which adds a new 30-second-long effect called Tendo to that cooldown. When you have the buff, both Tenka Goken and Midare Setsugekka will be augmented and become Tendo Goken and Tendo Setsugekka. This change is also reflected in their Kaeshi versions gained from Tsubame-gaeshi, so you’ll use one of these new Tendo versions of normal Iaijutsu and then a new Tendo version of their Kaeshi form. That is a few too many words to explain that when you do your burst, your Iaijutsu will be upgraded, dealing much more damage- Simple as. All the animations for these new upgraded skills also go extremely hard, so it will be a joy to see.

That’s everything coming up in Dawntrail for you. This took a few more words than I thought it would, but there is nothing earth shattering here. Shoha is a great change, and Tendo and Zanshin are good upgrades added without dumping too many new keybinds to figure out. Viper is the new selfish kid in town, so we’ll see how all of this translates to performance, but you’ll 100% still look cooler most of the time.

Sakonji Attire